|To Guard an Inu
Author: Morgana Deryn PM
Inu no Taishō ordered Noriko to protect his son, Inuyasha. Noriko, Inuyasha, and Kagome must learn to all work together to repair the Sacred Jewel and defeat Naraku. Noriko's allegiance lies with the inu, but why? She tries to protect both Inu brothers, but how can she when they're on opposite sides? Who was she before the Inu no Taishō? Even Inuyasha doesn't know. SessOC InuKagRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Kagome H. & Inuyasha - Chapters: 10 - Words: 33,775 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 04-19-13 - Published: 01-27-13 - id: 8951683
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tracking Kagome – The Shikon Shatters!
The village men converged around Inuyasha in a wide circle, Kaede and Kagome inside with him. They were all wielding weapons, predominantly bows and spears. Kagome would have swooned were she the one faced with such odds but Inuyasha only looked amused.
"Pay no heed to Inuyasha," Kaede told her, throwing out an arm. Kagome looked down at the glowing Shikon no Tama in her hand.
The jewel makes yōkai more powerful. Is it cursed?
"I hate having to wait," Inuyasha growled. Kagome looked up at him. "And I hate the smell of you!" he shifted one foot forwards and then he was running for her, red sleeves flying behind him. Kagome turned and ran, hoping to get to the edge of the protective circle. Her feet betrayed her, catching in a piece of spine and tripping her. Inuyasha sailed by on her left, his deadly claws slicing overhead with the streaks of yellow light. She'd seen what that could do. He'd really just tried to kill her.
Kagome hit the ground, sliding, and Inuyasha landed easily in a crouch, holding up his claws. "Want me to scratch your back?" he teased, popping his knuckles.
"You really tried to hit me just now," Kagome blinked.
Arrows came flying for Inuyasha, but he turned and sliced through them with his claws. He jumped, his hands flicking out deftly. More yellow light sliced through the air and the tops of two trees toppled towards the archers. They ran, some abandoning their weapons as they went. Inuyasha landed lightly on top of one of the trunks.
"Who do you people think I am?" he demanded. "You think you can hurt me like I did that centipede?"
"Lady Kaede," one man said nervously. "Methinks mayhap that we might have chanced the centipede."
"Somehow I knew it would come to this," Kaede said, digging in her shirt. As Kagome ran for her life, Kaede yanked out a string of black beads interspersed with brown spaced like fangs.
"Prepare yourself!" Kagome heard Inuyasha yell as he bounded after her in the trees. She was running for her life and he was having the time of his life.
"Prepare?" she demanded. "For what?" It was no contest. She hadn't a prayer against him!
She went flying as those yellow streaks of light hit the ground behind her. The Shikon no Tama flew from her hand and rolled a short distance away. Kagome rolled and turned around to look at the damage. She gasped at the sight of the deep gouges in the earth, stopping just short of her feet. That was how close she had come to dying.
"Now it's mine," Inuyasha laughed, jumping out of the trees and going to the jewel. Purple drops of light flew from all directions and formed a ring around his neck. "Huh?" The light resolved into a beaded necklace that dropped around Inuyasha's neck. "What the heck are these?" he demanded, tugging at the necklace.
"Quickly child, the word of subjugation!" Kaede yelled at Kagome, who could make neither heads nor tails of the statement. Word of subjugation?
"What word?" she called back, snatching up the jewel and taking off running again.
"It matters not! Your word has power to hold his spirit!"
Power to hold his spirit. Kagome was wondering what that meant as the ground crumbled underneath her and she went sliding down the incline. She hit the ground and again the jewel fell from her grip. It bounced along the ground, clacking onto the boards of a rope bridge across the river. Kagome reached out to grab it but it was already far beyond her fingers. Above her, Inuyasha jumped from the trees with a snort and soared towards the bridge.
"How can you overpower me when you can't sit up?" he snarled at her.
"A word to hold his spirit?"
He fell towards the bridge…
"But how will I know which one?"
He hit the bridge…
He reached for the Shikon no Tama…
Kagome's eyes landed on his dog-like ears. "Sit boy!" she roared on instinct. Pink light flashed from the beads around his neck and Inuyasha faced-planted on the boards with a strangled yelp.
"What do you know?" Kagome smiled, stepping onto the bridge. "It worked!"
"What the heck is this?" Inuyasha demanded, sitting up. He yanked at the beads, trying to rip them off over his head or break the thread holding them together. The beads glowed pink and refused to be removed.
"I'm sorry Inuyasha, but even you lack the power to remove it!" Kaede called from the bluff above.
"We'll see about that!" Inuyasha raged. "I'd come up there and finish you off if you didn't look half-dead already!"
"The word, please," Kaede said, her voice one of forced calm.
"Sit boy," Kagome said simply. Inuyasha hit the bridge again, flat on his belly and groaning.
"Say that again and you lose everything from the neck up."
Kagome looked up to see the woman from before, fair and teal-haired, standing on the other side of the bridge. Crimson eyes narrowed at her and Kagome gulped nervously. Somehow, she suspected that there was no word of subjugation for this yōkai.
"The Lady of the Forest!" Kaede said as the yōkai stepped onto the bridge. Kagome watched her walk forwards, heart pounding. Crimson eyes bored into her own as the yōkai slunk forwards, stepping one foot in front of the other. The yōkai paused beside Inuyasha and rotated ninety degrees, crouching beside him.
Kagome blinked. Before, she'd though the yōkai to just have a small waist. She'd only seen her from the front. Now that she saw her from the side she realized that she was just that thin, her ribs standing out prominently on the front and sides.
The yōkai shook her head, touching one of the beads with a finger. "Lord Inuyasha, you truly do have a knack for finding trouble."
"Noriko," Inuyasha grunted, pushing himself into a sitting position. "You're still here?"
"I am assigned to guard you until you release me. You have not released me. Therefore, I continue to guard you." She reached out a clawed hand and Inuyasha took it, accepting the help to his feet. She guided him away from the damaged and creaking boards before he shook her off.
Arrows flew down from the bluff above. They were not aimed at Inuyasha, but he dodged anyway, jumping. Noriko seemed to levitate and float away gracefully, her hair trailing behind her. She looked up at the bluff.
"Mortals," she sighed, "and their bows."
Kagome winced as Kaede adjusted the bandage on her side where Mistress Centipede had ripped into her. "How's that? Perhaps I'll put more unguent on your belly," she offered.
"So, I noticed you're rebuilding the buildings destroyed by Mistress Centipede," Kagome said guiltily. "What a pain."
"Pain, yes, and just the beginning," Kaede agreed. "Now that the sacred Shikon no Tama is back among us, far worse than Mistress Centipede will come to claim it."
"Worse that yesterday?" Kagome breathed, unable to imagine anything worse.
"And not just yōkai, but humans whose hearts are more evil still, and only the jewel has the power to make real their petty, grasping ambitions."
"Speaking of petty, what are you still doing here?" Kagome asked Inuyasha, who was sprawled across the floor with his back to them. In the corner sat Noriko, polishing her blade with a cloth, her eyes never leaving Kaede and Kagome.
"I'm waiting for the jewel," Inuyasha snapped gruffly.
"With the beads around his neck, his threat is diminished," Kaede explained. "It is perhaps the only way we can allow him so close to the jewel." She looked pointedly at Noriko, who raised an eyebrow, crumpling half her mark. "
"Why do you want the jewel anyway?" Kagome said, staring at it balanced in the palm of her hand. "You seem to be powerful enough already. What power can the jewel give you that you don't already have?"
"Ah, but he's just a hanyō," Kaede pointed out.
Inuyasha's fist slammed through the boards of Kaede's floor and Noriko sighed, sheathing her sword.
"You know what?" Inuyasha demanded. "I'm sick of hearing some dried up old witch I just met talk about me like she knows me!"
"So ye don't remember," Kaede said calmly, going to sit by the furnace. "I thought not. I am younger sister to Kikyō, she who bound ye to the tree, Kaede."
"You're Kaede?" Inuyasha blinked, though Noriko wasn't surprised.
She had been ordered by Inuyasha's father, the Inu no Taishō, to watch his son just before he died. Noriko had served admirably, guarding Inuyasha and Izayoi from threats both human and yōkai in nature. When Izayoi died, Noriko had begun protecting Inuyasha solely. Inuyasha hadn't been thrilled with the attention; in fact, his stubborn, independent nature, rebelled against it. Noriko would always remind him that he could order her away for good but he never did.
Noriko suspected that he had some misguided fear that if he dismissed her she would leave him forever. She had been with him all his life, like a comfort blanket, and he feared losing her, though he'd never admit it. And in truth, he never would lose her. She'd spent more than two hundred of her five hundred years with him. She had developed a fondness for him that saw beyond his gruff exterior, and she understood him almost as well as he understood her, though he really knew very little about her. Noriko had decided long ago that she would not fully abandon him if and when he ever dismissed her. She may be a bit freer with where she meant, may not stay so close to him, may visit other people and places, but she would never forget to return to him.
Despite the fact that Noriko was several centuries older than him, full yōkai, and female, the pair had formed a sort of companionable bond. To Inuyasha, Noriko was not a servant and to Noriko, Inuyasha was not her master. That illustrious title was one the Inu no Taishō had carried to his grave.
Regardless of the fact that Inuyasha was clearly not going anywhere after he was pinned to the tree, Noriko had stayed in the forest, feeling a sense of shame that she had not been able to prevent Inuyasha's sealing. She had thought Kikyō trustworthy. By the time she realized what had happened it was too late. Inuyasha was sealed and Kikyō, dead. She had stayed beside him in the forest as a form of self-imposed penance, earning her the nickname 'Lady of the forest' from the villagers.
Noriko sincerely regretted that once again she had not been by his side in the fight for the Shikon no Tama. She had been three villages over gathering supplies, the only time she left the forest. She had grown up living the somewhat pampered life of a powerful daiyōkai and had never been able to truly leave it behind. As such, she had furnished her cave with a futon and luxurious pillows that occasionally needed to be repaired as time and the elements took a toll on them.
She had known Kaede the moment she saw her enter the forest. She'd watched the 'brat,' as Inuyasha fondly called her, grow into the woman and then elder that he saw today.
"If you're this old, Kikyō must be pushing a hundred," Inuyasha snorted, leaning back on his arms. Noriko looked up sharply and narrowed her arms. He didn't know. She hadn't had the time to tell him. She'd gotten him off the bridge and then silently resumed her place at his side as he followed Kagome to Kaede's. "Sure glad I don't got to worry about getting old. At least, not for a while anyway."
"Kikyō didn't worry either. Kikyō died."
Inuyasha's ears twitched. It was subtle, but it was there. Despite the fact that she had sealed him to a tree, Inuyasha still cared for his traitorous love.
"It was on the same day she shot ye with the arrow."
"Gee, sorry to hear it," Inuyasha said mockingly, but his bark had lost some of its bite. He stretched out on the ground again. "Not that I really care or nothing. It's one less thing for me to worry about."
"I wouldn't let my guard down yet Inuyasha," Kaede said warningly. "I know now that Kagome is the reincarnation of my sister Kikyō."
Noriko blurred and Kagome flinched as the yōkai appeared at her side.
How did she-?
The thought was cut off as once again Kagome had her chin gripped and yanked from side to side.
"Get ye back!" Kaede ordered, rising and moving a hand towards her bow while Kagome smacked at the hand holding her. The grip on her chin tightened painfully as Noriko looked up at Kaede.
"While you may be powerful Kaede, do not forget to whom you speak," Noriko said coldly. "Had you any chance at killing me I would be far less willing to come into your home."
"Still talking like some lady."
"I am a lady, Inuyasha," Noriko reminded him absently as she scanned Kagome's face. There was the lingering impression of Kikyō around the mouth and chin… She tested, stretching out a bit of youki. A tiny bit of purity rose up against her, not enough to damage, but enough to warn. The girl didn't even seem to realize she did it. "I agree, priestess."
"It isn't just because ye resemble her," Kaede said as Noriko released Kagome. "The Shikon no Tama is in your body. That alone is proof enough. It's up to ye now child, to take over its protection."
"You burned it with Kikyō's remains to keep it from me," Noriko realized. "Clever priestess…."
"You went after it after Kikyō sealed me to the tree?" Inuyasha demanded, turning to Noriko. "But… you never even wanted it! You called it a waste!"
"My power is such that the disadvantages of the Shikon no Tama outweigh the advantages," Noriko said. "I have no personal use for it. However-" she paused and looked at Kagome and Kaede "-I had intended to try and use it to free you, but it was gone before I could claim it."
"So, why haven't you tried to take it from me?" Kagome asked her. "If you're so powerful, you could do it easily, right?"
"I could," Noriko nodded. "But as I said, I have no use for its power personally and now that Inuyasha is free it holds no appeal. Be glad for that, or this village would be little more than a pile of bodies and wrecked houses."
"We need to talk," Inuyasha said.
"Of course, my lord," Noriko said, bowing her head in acknowledgement as she floated to her feet lightly.
"I've told you before, don't 'my lord' me," Inuyasha grumbled as he walked out of Kaede's house, Noriko following. They both drew eyes on their way through the village. Inuyasha held himself with strength and dominance, just as his father had, though he lacked his father's poise, something Noriko had told him before. Noriko possessed that poise in excess. She moved gracefully, almost seeming to float as she moved, and positively exuding elegance.
"Here's good," Inuyasha said, stopping at the base of a tree by the river. He turned to look at Noriko only to find her on the ground on one knee. He blinked. He'd think of Noriko as a companion and then she'd turn around and do something like this and remind him that she was really a servant.
"I beg your forgiveness, my lord, for my negligence," Noriko said, bowing her head. "I have left you to be sealed in the past and left you only last night to be subjugated. I have failed in my post as guard and as such my life is forfeit to you. I will beg your forgiveness one last time before giving myself to your judgment, and I ask only for one small-"
"Will you shut up?" Inuyasha demanded. "I'm not going to kill you or anything. I told you not to come with me when I went to visit Kikyō and no one would blame you if you left me sealed to that tree and thought I'd never be unsealed. And don't call me my lord."
Noriko looked up at him in mild irritation. "Inuyasha, I failed. I require you to exonerate me, which you have just done, in a roundabout way. I do this for the sake of honoring the deal struck with your father."
"That deal," Inuyasha humphed, jumping up and landing in a crouch on a branch high above. "It's caused me nothing but trouble. I've been stuck with you for ages."
"If you wish to be free of my presence, you need only dismiss me," Noriko reminded him, flying up to sit beside him.
"Feh. Then who would I talk to, the trees?"
Noriko smiled. They had dropped back into the easy teasing they had once done faster than she had expected. Her normal expression of detached confidence faded into something softer, more open. "I missed you," she admitted.
"I didn't miss you," Inuyasha snorted, and then his expression wavered. "It didn't feel like fifty years to me. It barely felt like days. She died… and I never knew."
Noriko's hand flew out and she snatched a fruit from the air an instant before it hit Inuyasha's back. He had also reached and ended up closing his hand around her wrist. He released her without so much as a blush. Their relationship was not in any way romantic, one built on mutual understanding.
Noriko reversed the angle of the fruit and Inuyasha turned to stare at Kagome on the ground below laden down with food.
"Hey, don't you want to come down and eat?" Kagome called up to them.
"Where'd you get all that stuff?" Inuyasha called back.
"The villagers gave it to me. Why don't you come down here and help me eat it?" she offered. Inuyasha looked at Noriko, who raised an eyebrow at him. He shrugged and dropped and she did the same. Kagome spread out a blanket and set down her bags of fruit and vegetables. Inuyasha sat on her left, Noriko to his side. Kagome selected a fruit and bit into it while Inuyasha sat beside her, crouched and tense, eying her suspiciously.
"I don't know what you're up to, but I'm not buying it," he informed her.
"Buying what?" Kagome asked. "Listen, it's fair to say you don't like me very much, do you?"
"Way more than fair."
"Whatever! It's not even me you dislike, it's this Kikyō person."
Inuyasha let out a signature 'feh' and dropped his food, jumping back up into the tree.
"I'm not Kikyō, I'm Kagome, okay?" Kagome yelled up. "Can't we just call a truce?"
"Hah, I knew it!" Inuyasha said, jumping up and balancing easily on the branch, pointing down at Kagome accusingly. "You're trying to lure me into a false sense of security! What you don't get is that I'm just after the jewel!"
A blue slipper flew out of nowhere and smacked the back of his head. Inuyasha jerked forwards and hit the ground. He glared up at Noriko. She was fitting her shoe back on with her right hand while she nibbled at a fruit held in her left with her fangs.
"I thought you were my guard! Not my opponent!" he shouted angrily, heaving himself upright.
"Correct," Noriko agreed with a nod, taking another bite. "As your guard, I should now go and kill myself. As your friend, I should have hit you harder. She'd sharing her food with us. Screaming at her is not a polite way of saying thank you. Honestly Inuyasha, I know the concept of manners doesn't escape you. You should use them more often."
"What's your rush Inuyasha?" Noriko asked as she caught up to Inuyasha as he sprinted out of the village.
"That idiot girl's gone off by herself!" Inuyasha replied. "We've got to go find her!"
"Well then," Noriko purred. "Sic her, boy!"
Inuyasha gave her glare as he inhaled deeply. "I hate you sometimes…"
Noriko laughed as they sped along, hair and cape flying behind them.
"Idiot girl," Inuyasha cursed, hopping up in a tree and pausing to inhale. "I don't care where she goes, but she took the jewel with her."
Inuyasha's nose lead them to a temple that was in the process of falling down. Voices came from inside and Noriko's nose wrinkled at the smell of fetid meat and unwashed men.
"Thieves," she sighed as she drew back her foot and kicked a hole in the wall. Inuyasha charged through it.
The room was in shambles. There were injured or dead thieves all over, the walls and supporting columns crumbling. The door was blocked and the floor was covered in debris. Kagome was standing there, turning to face an eight foot tall man with abnormally pale skin and abnormally empty eyes. He swung his katana down at her and Inuyasha jumped, catching it with his wide sleeve. The metal snapped and Kagome gaped as Noriko charged in.
Inuyasha jumped and punched the man repeatedly in the face, snapping his head from side to side. Noriko didn't bother to draw her blade. She slid between the man's legs, popped up, and kicked his knee, dropping him. The thieves fled from the room in the wake of the initial flurry of blows.
"We're outta here boss!" one called.
"I can't believe you actually came!" Kagome said, positively glowing as she walked up to Inuyasha.
"Where is it, is the jewel safe?" Inuyasha snapped immediately.
"Jewel?" Kagome said blankly, her happy expression sliding off of her face.
"Oh no! Tell me you did not just say that!" Inuyasha raged. Kagome giggled nervously. The big man began to rise and Noriko turned. She gave a little hop and landed on the giant's shoulders. She placed one hand under each side of his jaw and jumped off, flipping as she went. The man's head tore free and went flying across the room as Noriko gently lowered herself to the ground.
The corpse fell forwards, the skin and viscera turning to dust. From that dust flew a carrion crow with a squawk, flying out of the hole Noriko had made on their entrance.
"It's getting away!" Kagome cried. "Aren't you going after it?"
"Maybe you hadn't noticed but the world is full of yōkai. You want me to go after them all?"
"No but! You want to start doing the fighting, be my guest! In the meantime," he said as they climbed out of the temple. "Where's the jew- ah!"
He stared furiously after the crow flying off with the jewel in its beak.
"That stupid crow is making off with the jewel!" Inuyasha shouted. He whirled on Kagome. "What's wrong with you?"
"What do you mean what's wrong- Go after it!" Kagome shouted.
"Ugh, come on!" Inuyasha snapped, yanking her out of the temple. He paused suddenly, Kagome slamming into his back, and Noriko knew immediately what he had seen. There was no guarantee, but… She seized the bow and quiver anyway and tossed it to Inuyasha. He thrust them into Kagome's startled hands and yanked her onto his back.
"What are you waiting for?" Inuyasha demanded, taking to the treetops. "Shoot it!"
"You're kidding, right?" Kagome replied. "I've never used a bow in my life!"
"Look, the crow lives by eating human flesh. Imagine what'll happen if it swallows the jewel."
"Too late," Noriko said grimly.
"It swallowed the jewel!" Kagome cried. "Okay, I'll try it."
Noriko glanced to the side and saw Inuyasha's expression. It was a greedy look, one she did not like in the slightest. His eyes flicked from the crow to the girl on his back.
"No!" Noriko shouted. She stepped in front of Inuyasha. He slammed into her and the three of them rolled.
"What the hell is your problem?" Inuyasha demanded from underneath Kagome. He shoved her off roughly. "It's getting away!"
"I will not let you kill her," Noriko hissed in his ear as she helped him up. She took Kagome this time, and tugged her onto her own back.
"Oh, I'm heavy, I-" Kagome began, expecting her weight to be too much for the skinny girl.
"It's easier for me to carry you than it is for Inuyasha," Noriko explained. "I'm stronger."
"Theoretically," Inuyasha grumbled as they took off again. "Come on, Kikyō was a master archer! Take it in one shot!"
"I told you, I'm not Kikyō!" Kagome shouted at him. Noriko jumped, getting Kagome closer to the crow. She intended to go for it if Kagome missed, which she did, but she hadn't taken into account the weight on her back. She didn't get as high as she had intended to and she fell back to the ground faster.
"I thought you said she was a master archer?" Kagome grunted as she was jostled by their landing.
"She was! It's you that's the klutz!" Inuyasha snapped. "And what was that, Noriko? Why didn't you get it?"
"Apologies," she snapped. "I'm not exactly used to ferrying mortals about like a horse."
"Then give me that!" Inuyasha shouted, yanking Kagome back. He jumped and Kagome fitted a arrow into the bow. Predictably, she missed. Noriko thought Inuyasha was expecting rather a lot from the poor girl. It was clear she'd never handled a bow before, and while admittedly it wasn't Noriko's best weapon, she knew the basics. Kagome had no knowledge. Add to that the jostling, the wind, the moving target… She hadn't a prayer.
"That's it!" Inuyasha shouted, dumping Kagome unceremoniously on the ground. "I don't care what the old woman says! You! Are not! Kikyō! I'm out of here."
"Inuyasha, wait!" Kagome pleaded. A clawed hand snatched her up and she found herself on Noriko's back again. She wondered vaguely if this was what it felt like to be the ball in a game of catch, passed back and forth.
"He won't wait. This is his heart's desire," Noriko explained.
"Why does he want this thing so badly?" Kagome demanded as they ran.
"That's his business," Noriko said. "It's not my place to tell you."
"How do you put up with him?" Kagome huffed.
"I'm required to. I am his guard."
"No!" Noriko snarled, staring. The crow had snatched up a small boy, a meal, and was flying over the river. Kagome saw Inuyasha lunge and realized what he was about to do.
"Inuyasha, no! you'll hurt the boy!"
"Stay out of this!" Inuyasha yelled. "Sankon Tessō!"
The boy dropped into the river with a rain of gore and blood falling around him.
"Help! Help me!" he screamed.
"Stay here!" Noriko shouted as the horrified villagers took off down the bank after the boy.
"Where are you-?"
Kagome watched as Noriko jumped, flying out over the river gracefully, her cape blowing around her. Her expression was soft as she reached down to the boy. He grabbed her hand gratefully and she smiled. Backed by the sun, she looked like some sort of angel. It was then that it hit Kagome just how powerful yōkai were. She'd fallen into a world of magic and she was unprepared for what that meant. But there was a burning desire inside her now to understand fully.
Noriko flew back to the bank with the boy pressed to her chest. She dropped lightly and set him on the ground.
"Are you alright?" is worried mother said. She brushed his bangs back and stared over every inch of him frantically. The boy let out a nervous giggle.
"I'm fine, momma."
"Thank you so much, Lady," his mother said, looking up at Noriko in awe.
"Thank you for saving me," the boy chirped. Noriko nodded.
"It's getting away!" Inuyasha screamed from the opposite bank.
"What?" Kagome asked, turning. She saw the crow, reformed, and flying away. "Well, I guess your off the hook for now pal."
The boy yelped and Noriko and Kagome both turned to him in surprise, looking him over. The crow's foot was still gripping the back of his shirt, trying to go back to the crow's body.
"I know," Kagome muttered. She walked over to one of the village men. "Can I borrow your bow?"
Kagome worked quickly, tying the foot to an arrow. She fit it into the bow and raised it, taking aim.
"I can do this, I know I can," she muttered, and released. The arrow flew straight and true and thunked into the bird's body. It disintegrated, leaving the Shikon no Tama floating there in a ball of purple light.
Noriko's ears twitched as she heard the tiny sound of something cracking. "No… She couldn't have…"
"That light," Kagome whispered. "Where's it coming from?"
The ball of light shattered, pieces flying everywhere, trailing light like tiny comets. They arched overhead, out of sight. Some vanished among the trees and mountains, some kept going.
"Are you sure it fell around here?" Inuyasha demanded. The sun was setting and they'd been following Kagome's shifting directions since the drama that afternoon ended.
"Well yeah, kind of. Though I'm still kind of worried about that light," Kagome said nervously.
"As you should be," Noriko murmured. Her hand darted out, seizing the head of the crow that came flying out of the bushes with a cry. Her grip tightened and it exploded in a gush of hot blood and shards of bone. Noriko dropped the mass and drew a cloth from inside her breastplate, wiping away the blood and brain from her hand. She crouched over it and lifted out a small shard.
"I hope that's not what I think it is," Kagome whimpered.
"And what do you think it is?" Inuyasha hissed.
"You are a correct, Kagome," Noriko said. "It's a shard from the jewel."
"What did you say?"